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J Biol Chem. 2000 Jun 2;275(22):16767-73.

Cation hexaammines are selective and potent inhibitors of the CorA magnesium transport system.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-4965, USA.


Cation hexaammines and related compounds are chemically stable analogs of the hydrated form of cations, particularly Mg(2+). We tested the ability of several of these compounds to inhibit transport by the CorA or MgtB Mg(2+) transport systems or the PhoQ receptor kinase for Mg(2+) in Salmonella typhimurium. Cobalt(III)-, ruthenium(II)-, and ruthenium(III)-hexaammines were potent inhibitors of CorA-mediated influx. Cobalt(III)- and ruthenium(III)chloropentaammines were slightly less potent inhibitors of CorA. The compounds inhibited uptake by the bacterial S. typhimurium CorA and by the archaeal Methanococcus jannaschii CorA, which bear only 12% identity in the extracellular periplasmic domain. Cation hexaammines also inhibited growth of S. typhimurium strains dependent on CorA for Mg(2+) uptake but not of isogenic strains carrying a second Mg(2+) uptake system. In contrast, hexacyano-cobaltate(III) and ruthenate(II)- and nickel(II)hexaammine had little effect on uptake. The inhibition by the cation hexaammines was selective for CorA because none of the compounds had any effect on transport by the MgtB P-type ATPase Mg(2+) transporter or the PhoQ Mg(2+) receptor kinase. These results demonstrate that cation hexaammines are potent and highly selective inhibitors of the CorA Mg(2+) transport system and further indicate that the initial interaction of the CorA transporter is with a fully hydrated Mg(2+) cation.

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